President Ronald Mason Jr. Through the years

President Mason: A Commitment to Excellence

Mason Leadership TimelineRonald Mason Jr. J.D. is the ninth president of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), the only public university in the nation’s capital and the only exclusively urban land-grant institution in the United States. President Mason announced last July that he would step down from his role when his contract concludes on June 30, 2023. Having begun in 2015, Mason is the University’s longest-serving president.

Under his leadership, UDC ranked #17 in the 2022-2023 U.S. News & World Report Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), an increase from the #30 position last year. A total of 77 historically Black colleges and universities were compared—only with one another—for these rankings. Within the ranking, UDC holds the distinction of being ranked 7th among all public HBCUs. UDC also ranked #5 for Clinical Law Training for the David A. Clarke School of Law’s Clinical Program in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report Graduate School Rankings (tying with Yale University).

The University also began a multi-million-dollar capital renovation and expansion program during President Mason’s tenure. During this time, spending on research almost tripled; two new Ph.D. programs were initiated and launched (Urban Leadership & Entrepreneurship and Engineering & Computer Science), and the Center for Diversity, Inclusion & Multicultural Affairs (CDIMA) was created.

One of the most notable highlights under his helm: The institution secured the most significant private gift in its history—$2.3 million for need-based scholarships.

UDC is Mason’s third presidential appointment. Previously, he served a five-year term as the chief executive officer of the Southern University and A&M College System and spent ten years as president of Jackson State University. Before that, Mason developed a successful record of progressive leadership at Tulane University, including senior vice president, general counsel and vice president for finance and operations. He also served as the founder and executive director of the National Center for the Urban Community at Tulane and Xavier Universities.

Mason has served in many leadership roles over the years, including two terms on the National Association for Institutional Quality and Integrity and multiple terms on the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Board. He has chaired the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Education and advised three U.S. presidents through the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Mason formerly served on the Board of the American Council on Education and the American University of Nigeria Board. He is a Digital Promise Board Member, serves on the Educational Testing Service HBCU Advisory Committee and is the Vice-Chair of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.

Mason is the recipient of numerous recognitions, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Award for Educational Leadership, the Benjamin E. Mays Educator of the Year, Columbia University John Jay Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement, TMCF Educator of the Year, the City of New Orleans Medal of Honor, and the Tulane/Xavier/Loyola Lifetime Achievement Award.

We extend to President Mason our gratitude. Your historic leadership has been instrumental to Team UDC.

Presidential Highlights

  • Ranked #17 in the 2022-2023 U.S. News & World Report Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Within the ranking, UDC holds the distinction of being ranked 7th among all public HBCUs
  • Ranked #5 for Clinical Law Training for the David A. Clarke School of Law’s Clinical Program in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report Graduate School Rankings (tying with Yale University)
  • Increased awards to the University, including Title III & HEERF, from ~$14.2M in FY18 to $33M in FY21. Grant proposal submissions increased from $24M to $54M from FY18 to FY21
  • Almost tripled University research expenditures, as reported to NSF, in the past four years from $2.9M in FY18 to $7.6M in FY21
  • Initiated and launched two new Ph.D. programs (Urban Leadership & Entrepreneurship and Engineering & Computer Science)
  • Ranked #5 for Clinical Law Training for the David A. Clarke School of Law’s Clinical Program in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report Graduate School Rankings (tying with Yale University)
  • Acquired the building at 4250 Connecticut Avenue NW in 2020 and updated the existing envelope during its renovation. Plans are underway to transform the building into a world-class academic space
  • Secured, as part of UDC’s six-year CIP, $28M in FY25 to purchase Old Congress Heights as the permanent location for Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning (WDLL) programs and $15M in FY23 & $20M in FY24 towards the expansion of the Community College at the Bertie Backus Campus
  • Received 11 commendations from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in accreditation reaffirmation
  • Negotiated 8th Master Agreement (full-time) and SEIU (adjunct) faculty union contracts for full-time and adjunct faculty in 2020
  • Obtained a $2.3M gift for need-based scholarships, the largest private gift in the University’s history, in 2021
  • Secured UDC’s first-ever federal earmark in the House Appropriations Bill for $1M to establish the Katherine G. Johnson Math Teacher Training Institute
  • Initiated major repair and renovation across the Van Ness Campus, including roofs, elevators, HVAC, and the completed construction of a law library
  • Negotiated several leases and partnership agreements to bring nationally recognized companies to the University and the Van Ness community
  • Founded the Center for Diversity, Inclusion & Multicultural Affairs (CDIMA) in 2018
  • Enhanced UDC’s athletic facilities, including renaming the sports complex after “grandfather of Black basketball,” UDC alumnus Dr. Edwin B. Henderson; remodeled gym; $2.3M tennis court renovation; state-of-the-art vision boards; and launched the esports program
  • Launched the Follett ACCESS Program in the fall of 2020 to deliver textbooks, courseware, lab kits and supplies to students

Make a Donation to the UDC Foundation Servant Leadership Campaign

During President Mason’s eight years of service to UDC, the University has experienced student success, growth, inspiration and visionary leadership. The UDC Foundation is pleased to announce the Servant Leadership Campaign to celebrate and continue President Mason’s legacy.

Starting in January 2023, we invite you to join us and make a substantial investment in the future of UDC’s student and family support services in honor of President Mason.

Your donation to the UDC Foundation Servant Leadership Campaign will provide substantive support to students for years to come through the following programs:

  • UDC STEM Anacostia Endowment Fund – This new endowment fund provides Anacostia High School graduates who receive a STEM-related degree from UDC with entrepreneurial or career advancement seed funding awards of $10,000 upon graduation.
  • DAWN Anacostia High School Family and Teacher Scholarship Fund – This scholarship fund provides free tuition for the parents, caregivers and family members of students from UDC’s strategic partner Anacostia High School who enroll in a four-year STEM degree program at UDC. We will offer the fund’s resources to Anacostia High School, Kramer Middle School and Sousa Middle School teachers and staff who wish to pursue master’s and doctorate degrees at UDC.
  • Emergency Student Assistance Endowment Fund – This new endowment fund provides need-based scholarships for UDC students who have a dire financial need but do not qualify for federal funding or other scholarships.

We invite you to join us and make a substantial investment in the future of UDC’s student and family support services in honor of President Mason’s leadership and vision.

We have commissioned special premium items to serve as commemorative keepsakes long after this special campaign ends. Please consider a donation level that is comfortable for you and your family. The premiums are cumulative and include the following items:

Donation Range Commemorative Items
$2,000 and above receive a limited edition umbrella, tote bag, scarf or tie, lapel pin, t-shirt and message in the digital tribute book (Valued at $120)
$1,000 – $1,999 receive a limited tote bag, scarf or tie, lapel pin, t-shirt and message in the digital tribute book (Valued at $63)
$500 – $999 receive a limited edition scarf or tie, lapel pin, t-shirt and message in the digital tribute book (Valued at $50)
$150 – $499 receive a limited edition lapel pin, t-shirt and message in the digital tribute book (Valued at $20)
$5 – $149 share a message in the digital tribute book
$30 SPECIAL INCENTIVE FOR UDC FACULTY, STAFF & STUDENTS ONLY – receive a limited edition t-shirt and share a message in the digital tribute book (Valued at $13)

 

Please contact April Hamilton to schedule a time to pick up your incentive items (to help us lower costs) or provide us with your preferred shipping so that we can mail the items to you. Commemorative items are only available to donors who contribute from January through June 2023.

Please get in touch with the Office of Institutional Advancement for more information, by calling 202.274.6754 or emailing  foundation@udc.edu.


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